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Viral meme dog Cheems Balltze dies at 12 after cancer battle

Viral dog Cheems Balltze has died at 12 following a battle with cancer.

The Shiba Inu, also known as "Ball Ball," died on Friday after falling asleep during a thoracentesis surgery and never waking up, his owner announced to the dog's nearly 800,000 followers on Instagram.

"Ball Ball fell asleep on 18/8," his owner posted. "He fell asleep on Friday morning during his last thoracentesis surgery. Originally, we wanted to arrange chemotherapy or other possible treatment for him after this operation, but it is too late now."

His owner asked that Cheems' followers not be saddened by his passing but instead celebrate his life. 

"Please remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world," the owner wrote. "A Shiba Inu with a round smiling face connecting you and me, he has helped many people during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy to many of you, but now his mission has completed."

"I believe he is running freely in the sky and having a lot of delicious food with his new friends," they added. "He will always be inside my heart. I hope he can continue to bring joy to everyone in the online world, that's my only humble request."

Cheems became an internet sensation for his memes centered around his love of cheeseburgers.

His owner documented Cheems' cancer journey during his last months, posting updates on the dog's treatment and well-being. 

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